Delicate Russian toy dog learns to look before she leaps

Nellie faceNellie is a two-year-old Russian toy dog. She jumped from her owner’s arms and broke both bones in her forearm, the radius and ulna.

Surgery was scheduled at Blairstown Animal Hospital. The main bone, the radius, was repaired with stainless steel and 6 screws. In addition, a bone graft was placed around the fracture site to speed up healing.

In my practice, this is a common fracture and a common surgery, but Nellie’s bone was about the size of a match! The repair was reinforced with a splint. Because there is no splint small enough for her size, we had to make one with a wooden tongue depressor.

Nellie recovered well. She was strictly confined for 8 weeks and needed weekly splint changes. Follow up X-rays were taken after 8 weeks to make sure the bone was healing.

Happily, the bone healed nicely. Her activity was slowly increased over 4 more weeks.

Small and toy breed dogs can break a bone after what seems to be minimal trauma, such as jumping or falling. It is important not to rely on a splint only, as this will often not allow the bone to heal. These dogs truly need surgery to ensure a happy ending.

And please be careful when holding these tiny dogs! Don’t give them a chance to jump from your arms or tall places.

E pre op 1

A preop X-ray, showing the broken bone.

E pre op 2

A preop X-ray, showing the broken bone.

E post op 2

A postop X-ray which shows the repair.

E post op 1

In this postop view, you can see the screws used to fix the fracture.

Emergency surgery averts crisis for unspayed cat

Skinny Minnie faceWhen veterinarians say it’s important to spay your pets, we really mean it! Skinny Minnie is a nine-year-old female cat. She was taken to the local emergency clinic because she wasn’t feeling well and had a bloody discharge from her vulva. An ultrasound showed a pyometra – a uterus full of pus.

She was started on IV fluids, pain medication and antibiotics. Emergency surgery was scheduled at South Mountain Veterinarian Hospital the next day.

Surgery for a pyometra is essentially a modified spay. It’s a bit riskier since there are much larger blood vessels than usual.

Thankfully, surgery went well and she made a full recovery.

Skinny Minnie’s owner is now aware that cats (and dogs) should be spayed before they are 6 months of age to avoid pyometra, as well as unplanned pregnancies and mammary tumors. Spaying a pet can save her life!

Skinny Minnie - Pyometra



Jack Russell’s surgery is just a symptom of a larger problem

MaxA 10 year-old Jack Russell, Max, wasn’t feeling well.

He’d eaten a red rubber toy, and while he vomited a small piece of it up, X-rays and continued vomiting suggested there was more foreign material in the stomach and the small intestine.

Sure enough, we found 2 more foreign bodies in the belly. One piece was in the stomach, which we opened up. The other one was literally stuck at the end of small intestine, right before the appendix.

But that wasn’t it. Because of his age, I suspected that Max had an underlying condition that compelled him to eat things he shouldn’t. We expect puppies to get into things they shouldn’t, which is why puppy-proofing a house is so important! On the other hand, seniors like Max and dogs who are past puppy-hood should know better.

We took biopsies of the stomach and the intestine at Berks Animal Emergency & Referral Center. Sure enough, a week later the biopsies revealed Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), a condition similar to IBS in people.

Toys are not always as safe as manufacturers claim! Young dogs eat stuff because they are young and… not always so smart (good thing they’re cute).

However, older pets should know better. They often eat foreign bodies because of IBD, which should be treated.

Max 2

The foreign bodies we removed from Max.

One little Pug needs double surgery to fix bladder

PeeWeePeeWee is a 7 year old male Pug who couldn’t urinate. He was examined at Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital and an X-ray revealed bladder stones. Some of the stones were able to go down the urethra, which is the tube between the bladder and the outside world. They got stuck and PeeWee couldn’t go to the bathroom.

The red arrow on the X-ray shows some bladder stones. Along the urethra, the green arrow is pointing to some strong stones that look like a string of pearls.

PeeWee xrayPeeWee needed two surgeries to fix him up! The first was a cystotomy. This is a bladder surgery that allowed the removal of stones. The stones that were blocking the urethra was pushed back into the bladder, and removed from there.

The second surgery was a urethrostomy.

We suspected that PeeWee had calcium stones, which can sometimes come back. The goal of the urethrostomy is to prevent (or at least greatly decrease) the risk of becoming blocked again. PeeWee had to be neutered in order to perform the urethrostomy.

A larger opening was created in the urethra, making it easier for small stones that might form in the future to escape with urine.

PeeWee stonesThe stones were sent to a lab for analysis, which later confirmed the suspicion of calcium stones.

PeeWee rested for 3 weeks before he was released from his restricted activity. He is now back to normal. Life is much more pleasant when you can urinate!

Bladder stones do not discriminate. They can affect any dog or cat, of any breed, of any age. If your pet ever shows signs that they’re having trouble urinating, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible!


Australian Shepherd’s scuffle with car sends him to surgery

Gunner faceThis cutie is Gunner, a one-year-old male Australian Shepherd. Unfortunately, he was run-over in his driveway by his owner and his femur, or thigh bone, was broken.

Fortunately, it was fixable! I performed surgery at Berks Animal Emergency & Referral Center. All it took was a stainless steel plate and 9 screws.

Gunner is recovering well, and everyone is grateful that there’s a happy ending. Amazingly, Gunner’s situation is not an uncommon occurrence in cats and dogs – and even children! Always be aware of your surroundings in your driveway, especially if your pet has access to the driveway and likes to greet you. Then they should be locked up inside the house until it’s safe!

Gunner preop

Gunner’s x-ray before surgery.

Gunner post

A post-op x-ray showing the plate and screws used to repair the femur.